Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


 I like this cookie because it is awesomely good and you make it with a cake mix, so it is quick.

Beat 2 eggs with 1/2 C. oil and 1 tsp. vanilla in a bowl.  Mix in one chocolate cake mix of your choice.  I usually use a German Chocolate cake mix but have used others.  Devils food makes a very rich chocolate.   Add 1 C. of Semisweet, 1 C. milk chocolate and 1 C. of white chocolate chips.  Or 3 cups of any kind you want.  Add 2 C. of nuts.  My favorite is toasted whole almonds.  You can cut them up or put them in whole.  In this batch I used pecans.  Or you can use a combination of any.  The cake mix is just to bind together the chocolate and nuts and so squish everything together and place on the cookie sheet.

For an extra special cookie make them with good chocolate cut up in chunks instead of the chips. 

Now this is the secret to a good cookie.  BAKE FOR 10 MINUTES - NO MORE THAN 10.  I don't care if they don't look done if you bake them longer they will be dry without the gooey goodness of the melted chocolate.  I have made these dozens of times and know of what I speak.   Take them out and let them cool for at least 5 minutes before you try to eat them.  I have people tell me all the time, "my cookies weren't like yours."  Then I find out they baked them longer because they thought they weren't done.  10 minutes will cook them fine. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Quinoa is a bit overpowering in texture and flavor.  I only had a cup and wanted to make this so I used half Israeli couscous and it was perfect.  You could use all quinoa or orzo instead of the couscous.  I have always liked Tabouleh and have fresh mint (including lemon mint, which I used half) and parsley flourishing in my yard so this was a lovely treat.  I will make it again.


2 Cups of your grain of choice.  If you use different grains they will need to be cooked separately.  The guinoa is cooked by adding 2 cups of water for 1 cup of quinoa bringing it to a boil and simmering it covered for 15 minutes.  The couscous is boiled for 7 minutes 10 for the orzo.

Cool the grain to at least room temperature.  If I want a quick cool I will spread it out in a pan and put it in the freezer while I make the vegetables.

Chop 2-3 large tomatoes
Add:  1 Cup frozen petite peas rinsed and drained (you could eliminate this but it was nice)
1/2 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 Cup olive oil
6 T. fresh mint chopped fine - measure after chopping
1/4 Cup fresh parsley chopped
15 good pepper grinds
1/2 tsp. salt

Toss it all together and check the salt.  This will make about 6 servings and keeps several days in the refrigerator.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


A post from the facebook of one of our Young Adults in the Canaries.  The baby is praying that the week will pass quickly for the anticipated Friday Family Home Evening.

I have always wanted my blog to contain a smattering of my interests, including my love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Today I sat in church with an overwhelming sense of the sweetness of the families gathered to share a spiritual experience.  There was a High Council speaker and he was having a difficult time delivering his message, yet I felt peace and love there.  I said to myself, "This is good, this is right."  Even in the weakness of this mans abilities I felt the spirit."   I thought of a favorite quote from Rabbi Harold Kushner.   He said:
“In congregational worship, regularly scheduled services on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I have come to believe that the congregating is more important than the words we speak.  Something miraculous happens when people come together seeking the presence of God.  The miracle is that we so often find it.  Somehow the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.  A spirit is created in our midst which none of us brought there.  In fact, each of us came there looking for it because we did not have it when we were alone.  But in our coming together, we create the mood and the moment in which God is present.”  (Who Needs God, p. 149)

Recently I had a conversation with the wife of a Dr. I am seeing, who was helping out that day.  I told her about our mission.  She is not LDS but was very impressed with the idea that we are going to help a group of young adults, in a far flung area of the world, be together, have a community.  We have already connected with some of these young people on facebook.  They have impressed us with the things they say and post on their facebook page.  (Bless Mike, who is proficient at reading Spanish) They are not ashamed of their testimonies.  They link to church talks, songs, scriptures and quotes that inspire them.  The bulk for their facebook friends are not LDS.  They are showing the joy and direction the gospel gives them for a good, clean life of hope and love. 

I have a file of favorite gospel articles from various sources.  This is a great essay with a challenge to atheism .  Athiests  Here is a quote from it:  

Dr. Nicholi, author of "The Question of God," conducted a research project at Harvard University in which he interviewed undergraduates who had experienced what they called a "religious conversion."  The author interviewed the students themselves and the people who knew them before and after their conversions.  The results, which were published in the "American Journal of Psychiatry," showed that each subject described a "marked improvement in ego functioning.a radical change in life style with an abrupt halt in the use of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes; improved impulse control, with adoption of a strict sexual code demanding chastity or marriage with fidelity; improved academic performance; enhanced self-image and greater access to inner feelings; an increased capacity for establishing 'close, satisfying relationships'; improved communication with parents.a lessening of 'existential despair;' and a decrease in preoccupation with.apprehension over death." (see "The Question of God, p. 80)

My favorite scripture find this year is in Enos: " ...and the words which I often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart."  (v.3)

Yes,  My favorite thoughts are usually of the "joy of the saints," those who have taught me, loved me and influenced me for good in the sojourn of my life.  And I look forward to many more experiences with saints in new places.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This is a wonderfully cool and refreshing summer dish perfect for using a small piece of leftover salmon.  It is good with crackers as an appetizer or by itself as a salad.  I have had this recipe for years and want to make it if I have some leftover Salmon.  I often do the lighter version if I plan on mostly eating it myself, the richer version for company. 

Salmon Mousse

1 C. cold water
1 pkg. Gelatin (1 T)
1 C. mayonnaise (you can use light if you’re counting calories or I often make it with 1 ½ C. water and ½ C. mayo for a lighter version)
2 C. broiled salmon flaked or other flaky fish
1 C. minced celery
1 C. chopped peeled English cucumber
2 T. fresh dill or 1 T.  Dried (I use the freeze dried)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
½  tsp. Sea salt
¼ tsp. Pepper

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water.  Heat in microwave until hot.  Stir until gelatin is dissolved.   Add the dill here.   Cool until it barely starts to thicken.  Add the mayonnaise and then the remaining ingredients and stir well. (Add the Salmon last and let it be in chunks not shreds)  Pour into oiled mold or spray with Pam.  Chill for about 3 hours.  Unmold by submerging the mold in very hot water for 30 seconds or so.  Serve with crackers or on a lettuce leaf as a salad.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I heard someone review this movie who said, "It was so dark it wasn't really enjoyable but I couldn't look away."  These are my sentiments exactly.  The queen was almost too evil to believe.  There was very little in the movie that made me feel good.  The dwarfs lived in the fairy forest and the movie spent a 10 minute or so segment there and my fear eased up a little then, otherwise I was gripping my seat with dread of  who might die a violent death next.  The scenery was spectacularly dark and frightening.  There were too many desperate fights and battle scenes...too many violent outbursts of the queen and her creepy brother and a fierce monster.  Some of the special affects were amazing.   The story line loosely followed the original story.  The apple and the kiss finally showed up but the romance was nil.  The ending is left dangling, not for a sequel, really, just a situation where you can decide how you want it to end.  This is absolutely not for children.  There is no sex but the violence was R rated even though it is a PG-13.  My husband LOVED it!  I would give it 2 Stars or less.  I don't have much of a taste for this kind of movie, but I understand why adventure junkies like my husband can get enjoyment.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


This is the one with chicken and no mushrooms

I have made this 3 time with a recipe from Stacy's Snacks  which originated from Martha Stewart.  I made it twice with chicken and spinach and once with Swiss Chard and chicken because my neighbor brought some fresh over.  It was good.  I eliminated 1/4 C. of cream and didn't miss it.  I added the thyme and loved it with the mushrooms.   Then I decided to make this as a vegetable side dish with more spinach and mushrooms instead of the chicken.  My husband, who is my most important picky critic said, "I don't usually like stuff like this, but this is good."  (Don't tell him that it has onions.  I always have to grate onions small so he can't see them.)   My dinner guest asked for the recipe.  4 of us polished off one recipe.  I will make this again.  It serves 4-6

Mix 2 C. bread torn into bite size pieces.  (I love Costco’s big ciabatta rolls and used one of them. Toss with a 1 T. oil and a little garlic powder.  These are so lovely and crunchy on the finished product.

Add 2 T. oil or butter to a saucepan and stir fry the following until starting to brown:  2 cloves of coarse grated garlic, ¼ of a grated sweet onion and 8 oz. sliced mushrooms.  Add 1/3 C. white wine, 1 scant tsp. thyme leaves and simmer low for a minute or so.  Add ½ C. whipping cream and ½ tsp. salt.  Mix 1 C. milk with 3 T. flour until smooth.  Add to the mixture and bring to a boil, stirring for 1 minute.   Pack a 4 cup measuring cup to overflowing with fresh chopped or baby spinach (or chopped Swiss Chard.)  Put the spinach and ½ C. Parmesan Cheese into a bowl and pour the sauce over and toss with your hands until well mixed.  Pour into a 9 inch square size casserole dish and top with the bread cubes.  Bake 350 for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle on a little more Parmesan Cheese the last 5 minutes if desired. 

I have made this with 1 ½-2 C. rotisserie chicken if you choose to have it as a meat main dish.  Mushrooms or no, thyme or no, they were all delicious. 

Here is the measuring cup packed with spinach